Right on, Target

target-logo1I’m a guy, so understand that I can be dumb at times. Like, going into Target today to buy a couple of things. How ridiculous is that concept? Everyone knows that if you go to Target, you automatically have to count on buying at least 2, if not 3 times what you intended.

Anyway, intending to just pick up my couple of pre-planned items, I did not grab one of those hand-held shopping baskets (let alone a cart – guys don’t do carts for little runs like this!). Needless to day, before I ever got to the items I needed, I already had an arm full of two bulky things I didn’t know I needed, and my cash-and-carry bandwidth was about to be exceeded.

Here is where Target is very smart.

There, far away from the front or the registers, was one of those containers holding the shopping baskets! In fact, sprinkled throughout the store, just for dunces like me, were these handy outposts. A small touch. But very smart!

Why? Because now I could spend even more – and I did (yes, you can picture my wife rolling her eyes when I came in the door). More carry, more cash for Target – and I was happy too. Yet how many stores make you walk all the way back to get a basket or cart, putting up a barrier to extracting maximum dollars from you? Because I don’t believe I would have spent as much had that basket not been right where I needed it. Right on, Target. You know your shoppers.

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The Shopping Networker

I’m a networker. And, I occasionally go food shopping, although that responsibility generally falls upon my longsuffering wife. As a member of the blogging community who has been in his share of stores, I’ve never written about a shopping experience at Shop-Rite. Or A&P. Or Kings. Or Kroger. Or Stop and Save. In fact, the only food store I’ve written about (until now) was Stew Leonard’s, because it was a memorable experience created through a remarkable environment.

This week, I met someone at a Wegman’s in central Jersey. I was early, but I didn’t mind, because I found myself wandering around, figuring out why I had such positive feelings about being in this store. Someone had very carefully designed an environment that made me WANT to be there. What was it?

First of all, the store design managed to pull off a sense of both airiness and intimacy. The ceiling was high, but was painted an interesting rust/brown hue. Suspended from it, however, was an attractive gridwork of black metal, on which was carefully mounted a lighting scheme that brought the ceiling down while still leaving it open. The various lights employed nicely highlighted the shelves. It was quite brilliant in design, actually.

The floor pattern was not plain, but had a multi-hued, almost stone-looking pattern. Combined with the faux (but attractive) windows and siding that were mounted along the walls, the effect was that you were strolling in an Italian courtyard. You didn’t feel trapped in an impersonal box; instead, they managed to capture the feeling of small shops in a more intimate setting.

The layout was straightforward, but not sterile – pleasant signage mixed with easy-on-the-eyes displays. The cafe section (where I met my client) was set up upstairs, so you could grab some coffee at the coffee bar and just sit and relax at quiet little tables. The aisle widths and patterns varied somewhat, so that the usual institutional feel was absent.

I’ve been to exactly one Wegman’s – this one. Are they all this remarkable? I don’t know, but the store philosphy seems strong, and someone clearly wanted to create an atmosphere that was three cuts above your average food store. When I go to most stores, I just want to get in, get it done, and get out. At Wegman’s, I wanted to linger. That is remarkable.

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Brand Devotion: Ragin’? Ravin’?

Previously on this blog, I have discussed the branding of Ravenswood wines, which I think is exemplary. They specialize in Zinfandel, and their Zins are quite good…but there’s a secret sauce that not many people know about. Specifically, a very hearty BBQ Sauce.

Ravenswood produces, but doesn’t much promote, a killer BBQ sauce called Ragin’ Raven. I first discovered it when they had a big display at our local liquor store (the Ravenswood race car, etc.), and this sauce was available. Tried it, loved it, bought more. Ran out…and couldn’t find a way to get more!

Then, some months ago, the store brought out some cases that must have been in storage. Eureka! Did I care about the price? Not really…all I wanted was to have that Ragin’ Raven flavor again. So I bought 4 jars and found myself, at times, wondering why I didn’t buy more. Especially as we opened that last jar a couple weeks ago…

Today, I go down to the store, and what is there to greet me, but a small stack of Ragin’ Raven, with each jar on sale for $2.95! This time, there was no hesitation. I bought 24. And, of course, I raved about it to the guy in line behind me.

And that, my friends, is brand devotion. Where people love something so much that they are ragin’ to have more. When it’s so good, you can’t stop ravin’. Are people ragin’ and ravin’ about your brand?

(btw, it looks like you can order this nectar of the grill with the info on this page.)

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